Keeping the kids entertained this winter can be a challenge, we have compiled a list of 7 practical tips for parents and 7 indoor/outdoor play ideas for your family to enjoy this winter.
- Start where your child’s interests lie; if they are into Lego play Lego, if they love a TV Show character such as Thomas the Tank Engine use Thomas themed toys/games/puzzles.
- Spending time observing your child and playing with them can help you establish their interests; what makes them laugh, smile, belly laugh, hold their interest, calms them down.
- Check to see if the child’s indoor/outdoor play space needs to be modified for example can the child reach their own toys so they do not need to ask for help, is there enough room to play?
- Reward your child with praise.
- Join in with what your child is doing rather than guide play, you can copy what your child is doing then add to the activity. They will cherish the time you spend with them.
- Offer exploratory play options. Children will explore toys. This is how children begin to learn about their world through different textures (hard, soft, rough, smooth), colours, sizes and shapes this could look like feeling a soft toy like a teddy bear, mouthing toys such as a block or looking intensely at parts of the toy.
- The length of the game may need to be shortened this may mean rules need to be adapted or simplified; are there small parts that may be difficult to pick up? Think about alternatives such as choosing a puzzle with handles as an option.
7 indoor/outdoor play ideas
- Skittles; can be adapted to the length a child can throw/ roll the ball.
- Making play-doh and playing making different shapes; there are many free printable play-doh play mat templates online which are reusable if laminated. Cookie dough can be used in much the same way as play-doh = one batch can be divided into different bowls and have differed herbs and spices mixed in for an added sensory experience. Great for children’s fine motor skills, muscle strength and creativity.
- Indoor fort/cubby making, make some snacks, get cosy and read a book or watch a movie. Great for imaginary play, creative thinking and problem-solving.
- Karaoke – sing, dance, have a mini disco – get those lungs and bodies moving!
- Bring the outside in! : collect items from around the neighbourhood (e.g., pieces of bark, leaves, flowers etc) and make a nature collage.
- Thumb foolery; make thumbprints using washable paint and once dry turn them into characters – add antlers to make a deer, make happy faces, sad faces etc
- Make rainbow bubbles with soap, food colouring, water and a hand mixer (adults operate the hand mixer) to make the foam – can be used to teach colours.